Written by Prince Harry
By Beatrice Cosgrove reviewer
I admit, I am a British royal fanatic. When I was younger, I would go to the George Latimer Central Library and check out the huge (and very heavy) books filled with pictures of the royal family. I would go through the royal wedding albums and I loved reading about Diana, Kate and (more recently) Meghan. Pouring over the captions, I would learn little tidbits of information, and from there my interest sprouted and grew. The royal family is confusing, it’s especially difficult to figure out their family tree, so I would pursue big books and read as much as I could until they were due back to the library. So when I checked out “Spare,” my first thought was: “How the heck am I going to read all of this?”
“Spare” follows Prince Harry throughout his life as he navigates relationships, mainly his father (now King Charles III) and brother, William. It opens up with an interaction between Charles, William and Harry after Prince Philip’s funeral, foreshadowing events to come, before switching back to Harry’s childhood. He enjoyed being at his family’s estate in Scotland, Balmoral Castle, as well as traveling with his mother and his mother’s “friend,” as he called Dodi Al-Fayed, Diana’s significant other who was killed in the same car crash she was.
As I got deeper into the book I saw how Diana’s death kept coming up. Obviously, there was a lot of trauma following it, which was never truly resolved because of, according to Harry, the royal family’s tendency to deal with grief in an unhealthy way. Diana’s death affected the rest of Harry’s life and was something that he and his brother, William, had in common but seldom spoke about. As the book continued to spiral into Harry’s teenage years, a recurring subject was the press. The paparazzi had chased Diana’s car into a tunnel where the driver crashed into a column, killing the passengers, so Harry felt an extreme resentment towards them since he blamed them for his mother’s death. The paparazzi’s constant scrutiny of the royal family was both a learning experience and a taxing aspect of Harry’s life, especially when embarrassing moments and humiliating rumors were spread by the press.
A segment on Harry’s military career follows, detailing the many missions he was on and describing some of the issues being a royal in the military presented. I would say I was most captivated after Harry returned to Britain and began sorting out his affairs there, especially his relationship with Meghan Markle and the complications that it introduced.
Overall, “Spare” was an interesting read. I enjoyed seeing things from Prince Harry’s view, especially after reading so many other articles and books surrounding similar issues through a reporter or another royal biographer’s eyes. I didn’t like how Harry used the book as a platform for a tell all about his relationship with his father and brother. It felt as if he mostly blamed them and the press for his problems, which I felt was not entirely true. Y; yes, they played a significant role in many events in his life, positive and negative, but I think a lot of the difficulties he faced stemmed from unsolved trauma and more internal battles. I also felt that at times he could be slightly tone deaf, which I expected.
Being a prince comes with many drawbacks but wealth is not one of them. Harry is obviously extremely wealthy and although his wealth did not necessarily need to be addressed, I felt a few sentences were almost funny because of how different his version of ‘normal’ is to mine.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a commitment, especially those intrigued by royal life. Altogether I really liked this book and was sad to finish it. In my opinion it’s definitely worth a read for anyone who has worked with unraveling the many mysteries of the British royal family. It was not a terribly difficult book to get through, but some content felt more mature, therefore I would recommend it to readers ages 13-113.